Community fruit and vegetable exports to third countries in the first half of 2021 decreased by 2% in volume and 3% in value over the same period of 2020, totaling 3.4 million tons and 3,339 million euro, according to the latest updated data from the European Statistical Office, Eurostat.
The Member State that exported the most fruit and vegetables to non-EU countries in that period was the Netherlands with one million tons, 12% less than in the same period of 2020, and 1,011 million euro (-10%). It was followed by Spain with 559,717 tons (-7%) and 741.6 million euro (-7%). Poland came after with 554,565 tons (+41%) and 239.6 million euro (+9%).
Community sales of fresh fruit and vegetables to third countries maintain a downward trend in recent years. Specifically, it has decreased by 11% since 2016, going from 6.5 million tons in 2016 to 5.7 million tons in 2020, the last year for which complete data is available, considering the 27 Member States, not including the United Kingdom.
This contrasts, according to Fepex, with the EU's increased fruit and vegetable imports from third countries. In the period analyzed, the EU imported 11.4 million tons of fruits and vegetables for 11,785 million euro from third countries, i.e. 3% more volume and 17% more value. That's why the export sector requires the clear support of the European Commission in the opening of new markets that offer real alternatives to community producers and also support from the Commission to prevent the community productions from devaluing when compared to the production from third countries.